Presidency hits out at Pityana 'insults'

2012-09-26 08:15

Johannesburg - Reverend Barney Pityana's comments about the country's leaders were disappointing and unfortunate, the presidency said on Tuesday.

"Some of the comments attributed to Dr Pityana stoop way below dignified public discourse and intellectual engagement," presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj said in a statement.

"They are not worth repeating save to caution once again that disagreements are welcome in a democratic society, but should take place within the bounds of common human decency, without promoting a culture of hurling insults."

According to the Dispatch Online, Pityana told South Africans to take responsibility for the country's failures because they elected leaders without vision and basic competence.

"We must blame nobody but ourselves for the tragedy of our education system, a collapsing health care system, a bloated but inefficient civil service, pervasive crime, and corruption that has become endemic," Pityana was quoted as saying.

"That is because we have elected a government without any intelligence collectively to understand what must be done. We have a government trapped in ideological blinkers, that believes and behaves like it is unaccountable."

He was speaking in Grahamstown on Monday at Kingswood College's annual memorial lecture to celebrate the life of anti-apartheid activist Neil Aggett.

Pityana said the government was not dealing with matters such as unemployment.

"Instead it is reported public resources are being manipulated to enrich the few and to build a monument to Jacob Zuma’s presidency by establishing a new town on Zuma’s doorstep in Nkandla. And through it all this nation is fast asleep," he was quoted as saying.

Maharaj said some of Pityana's comments were incorrect and misleading.

Nkandla was not the only village receiving attention from government, he said.

The Nkandla smart growth centre was part of the KwaZulu-Natal government's programme to revive small rural towns.

Other towns that were part of the programme included Ndumo, Manguzi, Msinga, Mbumbulu, Nkandla, Charlestown, Jozini, Ngwavuma, Dududu, Weenen and Colenso.

"There are various other rural development projects by other government departments, nationally and provincially (sic), in various rural towns and villages," said Maharaj.

"We wish to emphasise that no government funds have been committed specifically to the Nkandla Mlalazi Smart Growth initiative."

In his speech Pityana reportedly said the ANC and its allies treated with suspicion and hostility any ideas that did not reinforce their own "stereotypical reality" and sought to silence the likes of The Spear artist Brett Murray, cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro (Zapiro) and expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema.

Maharaj said: "We expect Dr Pityana to know that allegations do not mean people are guilty, and even more so in the case of the rape accusations, as the president was acquitted in a court of law."

  • christopher.shining - 2012-09-26 08:20

    The truth hurts!

      Rabbler.Rouser - 2012-09-26 08:45

      Pityana is simply telling the truth. The ANC don't like to acknowledge the reality.

      arthur.halse - 2012-09-26 08:51

      In more ways than they can handle.

      Nads - 2012-09-26 08:57

      Ha ha ha ha ha!!! They really are trying to silence any resistance: "They are not worth repeating save to caution once again that disagreements are welcome in a democratic society, but should take place within the bounds of common human decency, without promoting a culture of hurling insults." If they were competent and actually did their job without just stealing money, there would be no insults to hurl. But hey, until that day (so until the day the ANC is not in power anymore) we will question their leadership, and point out their flaws. If they want to label this as a lack of common decency and hurling insults, that's their issue. As Christopher says, the truth hurts!

      derek.gunter.946 - 2012-09-26 09:18

      Yeah it's only really insulting when it's true right?

      Xavier7034 - 2012-09-26 09:21

      Trouble is.....there are dangerous forces now waiting in the wings.....Malema (or his alter ego)is very popular with the ill-educated, poorly informed, but populous youth.

      steve.ritchie.739 - 2012-09-26 09:37

      Well said DR Pityana. At least someone has the nuts to tell it as it is. Yes, the voters HAVE elected a useless government, but seem content with it. Defies logic. Meanwhile, the country slides backwards daily, fast becoming another dust-bowl country in Africa. Only the voters can change this.

      adrien.mcguire - 2012-09-26 10:23

      I would like to see their counter comments to the allegations, instead of just saying it is "not dignified for public discourse". The government is exactly what the public perception is. Perceptions are reality!

  • simon.pearce.790 - 2012-09-26 08:41

    Yep. Pityana's statement was spot on!!

  • cj.venter - 2012-09-26 08:45

    the time for change is fast approaching, and i for one cannot wait to see south africa blossom like a protea after a devastating veld fire.

  • Michael - 2012-09-26 08:45

    Barney Pitjana is still angry with the removal of T Mbeki from office, that anger unless it is dealt with will always influence what he says about government and its leaders, we have leaders of high standars running government, likes of T Manuels of this world and many others, people must remember that Zuma is not running government as a one man show, there is a collective of leaders involved. Pitjane's comments are an insult to all leaders and ministers in government. Pitjane must go for couselling to deal with anger management.

      themba.thwala.98 - 2012-09-26 08:59

      Michael you got your facts wrong. Pityana has never been a member of the ANC. He used to criticise Mbeki saying he flies over the Unisa campus to attend to matters outside SA while SA had burning issues to be dealt with. Trevor Manue had high standards, but the stupidity that has engulfed the ANC post-Polokwane seems to have infected him too. His National Development Plan is just a piece of paper that says nice things. The herdboy Zuma, does not understand it, and therefore hardly mentions it. He has probably wiped his bottom with it already. I must say you have really low, ,NO, you have no standards at all if you think standards are high with the current bunch of corrupt, foul-mouthed thieves and drunks (think Jackson Mthembu) :)

      p.borchard - 2012-09-26 09:07

      Michael, Trevor Manuel is one of an extremely limited few appointed in government that is actually capable of doing their jobs. You are wrong, zuma is the one who should have stopped the rot of corruption when it came to light. Instead, he always waste time to "apply his mind" (read, if you ignore it, it might go away) which never amounts to anything. The Buck Stops Here - that is what zuma is supposed to personify - but the whole of our government is playing a game of pass the buck. No one is taking responsibility for anything that got stuffed up under their watch (Angie Motshega etc). Pitjane's comments are so spot on it is like a fresh breeze. If everyone who are striking and pfaffing about everything that was promissed to them by the anc and never delivered were to start getting angry at the anc instead of apartheid and everything else, we might get somewhere.

      Nads - 2012-09-26 09:51

      A collective of useless leaders! You can only name one competent person in government, Trevor Manuel, and yet they moved him from the position where he was so respected, to a position with a title and little else. I mean really, you want to tell me our government is competent? What a joke!! Have you seen the state of ALL public entities, bar anything that makes them money (SARS)? Our municipalities are falling apart, so broke they cannot afford water bills, our roads are a disaster, our public health care system is a wreck, and our education system has deteriorated to the point where we have illiterate matriculants.

  • themba.thwala.98 - 2012-09-26 08:47

    The Deputy Thief-in-Command, Mac Maharaj, has spoken...

  • harold.parsons.37 - 2012-09-26 08:47

    Mac will deny everything even the fact that he is a fool paid by the ANC to speak for a fool. Barney is right and expressed his views correctly.

  • fussed.anderson - 2012-09-26 08:47

    You think that is bad. You should try reading news24 comments. Strange how two people are right and 5mil people are wrong.

  • Bra Tebzaah Sibilanga - 2012-09-26 08:48

    Maharaj you want to cry again ne?Only in the ANC is the truth seen as insults.Maharaj behave,I will make you cry boy.

  • zaatheist - 2012-09-26 08:48

    So what is so important about the opinions of a guy who believes there is an invisible magic man in the sky that grants wishes anyway?

      nrgx.nrg - 2012-09-26 09:01

      The importance is not who he is or what he believes in, but that he speaks the truth.

      storm.trooper.125 - 2012-09-26 10:15


      Nads - 2012-09-26 11:19

      You really intrigue me zaatheist, looking for any article where you could potentially mock or degrade our God. Why the massive interest in Him, if you don't believe in Him? Why do you feel the need to mock and degrade Him at every opportunity? If He doesn't exist, then surely there's no reason to go to so much trouble telling everyone He doesn't exist, specially on an article focusing on the government's inadequacies and not making a single mention of God? Just wondering. You know, I respect your opinion and your right to have a view on religion, please respect my opinion and my God. You don't have to believe in Him, but at least have the decency to respect our freedom to believe in Him.

  • alaina.nel.12 - 2012-09-26 08:48

    The reverend is spot-on.The truth hurts

  • mavivi.ntshongwana - 2012-09-26 08:49

    Zuma and his cabinet are a disgrace in South Africa.

  • clive.kihn - 2012-09-26 08:50

    The fact is that it's often the utterances of the Pres and his so-called government that "stoop way below dignified public discourse and intellectual engagement". And please note that all the towns/villages mentioned by Goebbels Maharaj as being part of the rural renewal project fall very much within what might be called Zuma territory.

  • tshivhombelaf - 2012-09-26 08:50

    Truth hurts! Calling what Pityana said 'insults' is an insult to our faculties.

  • alaina.nel.12 - 2012-09-26 08:50

    All of you ANC liars in parlement can't even spell the word truth.Too dumb....

      lucky.masilela2 - 2012-09-26 09:46

      You can not spell yourself, what is parlement. Be rational and stick to the matter at hand and stop .......

  • ruffashlar - 2012-09-26 08:51

    Mac Maharaj, history will judge you harshly, as it does the perpetrators of apartheid. You are holding up a corrupt and thieving edifice of a government. The ANC has lost its way.

  • phumi.ntlabati - 2012-09-26 08:53

    Pityana is one of the few BC leaders that are still worthy of their salt! He is 100% salt and the presidential candidate for this country! I salute him for raising the truth for what it is!

      phumi.ntlabati - 2012-09-26 08:55

      spell check: 100% correct

  • andrew.arnesen - 2012-09-26 08:55

    So, the (inconvenient) truth is now known as an insult? I think it is a case of the little boy pointing out that the Emperor has no clothes! The government would do much better to pay attention to these comments and act on them, instead of going into denial... It is what a large proportion of the country thinks so do something positive and worthy of praise rather than denying the validity of his brave words.

  • sj.fourie.56 - 2012-09-26 08:56

    Lol truth hurts like a bitch lol

  • osmaseko - 2012-09-26 08:57

    The Government should listen to the voice of reason and work towards service delievery that's all we need from them

  • vicky.john.1297 - 2012-09-26 08:57

    And if the cap fits - wear it. Terminal ineptitude and gross stupidity are hallmarks of ANC governance - not to mention hubris and avarice.

      andrez.kolesky - 2012-09-26 10:30

      You can lead a donkey to water, but it's still an ass

  • sibusiso.mhlongo.35 - 2012-09-26 08:59

    so since pityana knows who the intelligent leaders we must vote for are, let him tell the nation so that we will vote them. we do not know how to distinguish whether a leader is intelligent or not. or by intelligent leaders, does he mean LEKOTA and SHILOWA?

      ludlowdj - 2012-09-26 11:41

      At this point ANDREZ.KOLOESKY's Donkey could do a better job, water or not.

  • Thobile Lugwadu - 2012-09-26 09:00

    Go to hell mac maharaj, the fiscas is still bleeding due to your fraudulant tender in issuing drivers licence cards

  • lufuno.gwambe - 2012-09-26 09:04

    I do not understand why Mr Maharaj and his Presidency feel insulted. We live in a free country with a freedom of speech codified on the constitution. Barney Pityana was within his rights in critisizing the leadership that we voted in, remember we can still vote you out Mr Maharaj. As far as i am concerned corruption and is driven from the top, the poor people stays poor and Nkandla gets some upgrade, i think that wall around Nkandla was paid by us meanwhile President Zuma is paid in excess of R2 mil, we are not talking about spousal allowances, maybe R25mil.Mr Maharaj wants us to keep quiet, i think he should shut up because the more he talks he exposes that incompetence that Professor Barney Pityana mentioned.

      Nads - 2012-09-26 11:22

      Hear hear!!

  • mirrorman.smith - 2012-09-26 09:06

    Mac, the nickname 'Squealer' is so appropriate! Go jump in a lake!

  • kumbulani - 2012-09-26 09:09

    Maharaj on the defensive always

  • ro.jhb.1 - 2012-09-26 09:12

    Mac truth hurts. You have been part of a group of thieving thugs under the guise of democracy for too long. The ANC has done nothing but destroy, steal and racialise SA. Although houses have been built, power supplied nothing you do is sustainable. The houses are falling apart, power will not remain as its too expensive and a fair number of people believe its their right for free. Councils are owed billions and the middle class will not be taxed anymore. How do you plan to keep this toxic ship going. We, the people, have the right and and the obligation to remove your smug and corrupt butts and where possible put them straight in jail.

  • gerrit.vanpletzen - 2012-09-26 09:12

    At last,the TRUTH ! Thank you reverend, for stating the obvious so eloquently. Funny that it comes as a surprise, mr. Maharaj.

  • patrickmpanyana.mogwaneng - 2012-09-26 09:13

    Pres Mandela stand for reconcilliation ,Pres Mbeki for African Renaissance.What does Pres Zuma stand for ? Nkandla development ? I am sorry I never learned anything from Zuma except to say he is a good musician.

  • denis.dendrinos - 2012-09-26 09:19

    "Some of the comments attributed to Dr Pityana stoop way below dignified public discourse and intellectual engagement," presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj said in a statement. Once again big elaborate statements using big words and formal language, which most of the poor don't understand........ simple translation - we didn't like what you said because it's the truth and exposes us to unhappy people in the country to whom we're happily lying to and stealing from. as for intellectual engagement - you want to engage? Then why not debate Hellen Zille when she requests one? And why must people NOT criticise government in public? Government is supposed to represent the public's interests, so it is of public concern. No more secret little meetings behind closed doors at Luthuli house.

  • les.cunningham1 - 2012-09-26 09:21

    No Mr Maharaj, Pityana is 100% correct in what he has stated.

  • Rudi Linsley-Noakes - 2012-09-26 09:25

    The level of sick is rife... And this Dr just established exactly what people that have a nugget already know.. Problem is 'the struggle' is costing the poor more and more and it's leading to people who are investors in SA to just pack up... Including the skilled? Zim well be a raped country soon just like you!

  • neo.mogatusi - 2012-09-26 09:26

    truth hurts...please dont rub it in!!lol...eish Mac'mister licence tender'Maharaj at it again!! this guy still need to explain what happened to tenders he was involved in!

  • neo.mogatusi - 2012-09-26 09:36

    I think what south african common citizens should do now is elect their own 'commission' to probe corruption!All our leaders have their hands in a cookie jar so no new leader will act different once he steps in a gravy train becoz the 'system' will rub on him! To avoid this continous culture of stealing...the leaders should be allowed to disclose their corrupt activity in exchange of 'amnesty', so we can start afresh...!The same thing that happened during the TRC, shud be applied on corruption-crime!at this moment most leaders in the ANC should be arrested..

      hezekiel1 - 2013-02-05 16:02

      true.we have to start fighting corruption like we did with apartheid.People should be arrested and pay back our funds.We must refuse to pay this tax as it has been changed into donation for clevers

  • ndlovuvincent - 2012-09-26 09:37

    We are all guaranteed right to freedom of speech as citizens of this country.Rev Pityana was not wrong in voicing his views,so Maharaj.We still have a lot to learn in terms allowing other people to express their opinions freely without called names after doing that.

  • storm.trooper.125 - 2012-09-26 09:39


  • rory.short1 - 2012-09-26 09:47

    The fact is the government is failing in very important things like education and they seem unable to fix it. Those are the things that trouble me as an ordinary South African.

  • luke.dekoker - 2012-09-26 09:50

    Reverend Barney Pitjana is 100% on track, hopefully he and the other church leaders can convince the masses who have elected the anc government to change their vote away from the CancER clowns in 2014. On another note: Mr. Maharaj, you said "rape accusations, as the president was acquitted in a court of law" What about ALL the other charges that were squashed?

  • lucky.masilela2 - 2012-09-26 09:55

    The problem is that we are so disappointed by our Government to an extend that if it happen that they do something right or good, it is hard to believe that it is for a good of the Country

  • steve.ritchie.739 - 2012-09-26 09:55

    Age old story. You get what you vote for. Pity it has taken so long for the electorate to see it - and they will still keep on voting for them. Seems to me that they enjoy struggling and have something to fight for. Whatever happened to the big dream of building a nation together, creating work opportunities, educating our children and setting up a future for them? The cANCer policy of corruption, theft and self-entitlement certainly burst that bubble. Their dictatorship tendencies are there for all to see. Keep your people poor and uneducated so that you can rule by fear eventually. Time to get these idiots out of government and vote in people that are capable of governing and know that they are there to serve the people and not the other way around. Wake up voters!!!

      hezekiel1 - 2013-02-05 15:48

      we voted for this corrupt government officials to honour our life president dr R N Mandela.Since he is also not happy,ANC is about to go down.No more voting for these corrupt individuals

  • margaret.brand.12 - 2012-09-26 09:56

    the presidency has a challenge....prove him wrong.

  • johannes.mampye - 2012-09-26 10:20

    Maharaj is so blind folded with proetecting patronage by your friend not to realise that by mentioning only areas in kwazulu Natal that are receiving state attention you are in fact confirming the claims made by Dr Pityana.

      ratsaka.eugene - 2012-09-27 06:46

      The truth will beat intelligence 9 out of 10 times, this is that part that Maharaj's intelligence is outwitted by the truth. Lol. He just made an imbecile out of himself

  • lenox.ntlantsana - 2012-09-26 11:00

    The response was long awaited for!

  • lindiwe.malindismogwaneng - 2012-09-26 11:32

    Rev Pityana is 100 percent correct, must we keep quite and watch Zuma enriching himself, his wives n children and also his home villages only while the whole country is suffering? We voted but I regret my vote.

  • jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2012-09-26 11:50

    Don't you dare say anything against us or we will jump all over you. We are above the law and can do what we like. That is why we have Mac Maharaj, a true and loyal serf, as our spokesperson.So shut up, go to work and pay your taxes, we need them to spend on ourselves.

      ratsaka.eugene - 2012-09-27 06:39

      Yes go and pay your taxes, we need to spend on my 185 wives, 1285 nyatsis as well, screw your education system, I'm the president but I don't even have junior certificate lol

  • siphiwom - 2012-09-27 00:41

    Barney Pityana was spot on Mr Maharaj.

  • nemimabotja - 2012-09-27 01:40

    talk that talk

  • alf.pop - 2012-09-27 07:38

    Honest Mac: How do you associate expressions like "dignified public discourse, intellectual engagement and common decency" with a bunch of useless, semiliterate government officials? Who helped you look up the words?

  • gillian.wayman - 2013-02-25 13:26

    Our president was acquitted in a court of law on how many things There is no smoke without fire

  • keith.f.murphy - 2013-02-25 13:27

    maharaj is just another curry bunny who behaves like a chi wawa and if he does not chiwawaw all day he might lose his job and fat cheques bonus

  • mandla.dlamini.524 - 2013-02-25 14:08

    its surname mpitshana, you know ana, it despise itself or himself as an enemy of Zuma, isifundiswa mbumbulu, asinanqgondo nxa ikhona iyenzeleni izwe kanjanin nini, ivela lishona, i can just put them in the some corner of illuminati, in the corner of rothschild zionist, this are elite ground that no nothing about the plight of our people, its is a lecture as you saying, why he or they cant engage on instituting that mother tongue language must be allows on student in universities mainly when they do thesis, even in their assignment, lokhu kuthiwa zifundiswa kodwa lelo lihle ungeke uthi bafundile, zifundiswa ezazi isingisi zipetule imilonyana ngathi kusengilandi la, kodwa sobe abathengisi banqoba kuleli. bofa bezilanda osathane